Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Weighty Role for Rising Star

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Weighty Role for Rising Star

Article excerpt

Acclaimed actress Naomi Watts stars in 21 Grams, in cinemas from today

Her best friend is Hollywood superstar Nicole Kidman, her boyfriend Aussie heart-throb Heath Ledger, but now finally it's actress Naomi Watts's turn to take the spotlight.

And she's certainly making up for lost time.

Watts is the girl lighting up Hollywood at the moment, with Bafta and Oscar nominations for her harrowing performance in the new movie 21 Grams.

But she's the first to admit she's been gearing up for this moment ever since she was a child.

"I'm a late bloomer, but this is exactly where I've always wanted to be," smiles the beautiful blonde. "But this is far beyond what I ever dreamed for."

At 35, Watts is bucking Hollywood's trend for nubile young starlets. But hers is no overnight success. She spent more than 15 years struggling in Tinseltown before landing her breakthrough big-screen role in 2001, in the acclaimed David Lynch movie Mulholland Drive.

Meanwhile, her closest friend, Nicole Kidman, whom she met in 1991 on the set of the little-known Aussie flick Flirting, went on to become one of the world's biggest stars.

Watts, however, is adamant there was never a shred of envy towards her famous buddy.

"Never," she states firmly. "By the time I moved to LA she was in a different league. She inspired me, if anything, because I used to think, `Wow! She's a girl from Sydney's North Shore and she's married to Tom Cruise! Anything's possible.'

"She's always been a great support to me and she's had some tough times but we've always been there for each other. If anything we've grown closer as every year goes by."

Similarly, her boyfriend of two years, Heath Ledger, became one of Hollywood's hottest properties when he was barely into his 20s.

The pair met on the set of Ned Kelly and, after splitting up briefly last year, are very much an item again.

Although she's notoriously private about the relationship, she does insist the 10-year age gap between them isn't a problem.

"Heath is an old soul and he's someone I connected with," she says. …

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